Category News

Is Netflix’s Seaspiracy film right about fishing damaging oceans?

A documentary about the fishing industry’s impact on sea life and the oceans has caused a lot of debate. Many viewers have been saying they will no longer eat fish after watching the film, and expressed shock at the industrial scale of fishing. Others have argued it oversimplifies a complex issue – many communities depend on fishing for their livelihoods and for food, and are in fact practising sustainable catching methods.

We looked into some of the main claims in the Seaspiracy film on Netflix. 

Claim: Oceans will be ‘virtually empty’ by 2048

“If current fishing trends continue, we will see virtually empty oceans by the year 2048,” says Ali Tabrizi, the film’s director and narrator. 

The claim originally comes from a 2006 study – and the film refers to a New York Times art...

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Saving the kelp forest of ‘My Octopus Teacher’

The Bafta-winning Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher focuses on a film-maker who befriends an octopus. But the unsung star of the show is actually the kelp forest off the coast of Cape Town that he dives in – one of the world’s richest ecosystems.

The makers of the documentary are part of a campaign to preserve the underwater forest. BBC Africa Correspondent Andrew Harding went to meet them.

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Saving green turtles… by cooling their eggs

The future of Australia’s green turtles is under threat by climate change – but not how you might think. Warmer sand temperatures are leading to way more females being hatched than males. 

BBC’s Ade Adepitan travels to breeding spot Heron Island, in the Great Barrier Reef, to find out how conservationists are helping to save the reptiles.

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Marine species flee the equator

A new global study reveals that the biodiversity of marine species around the equator has dropped, as warming seas force tropical species south into already faltering ecosystems. The research team, led by the University of Auckland in collaboration with the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), the University of Queensland and CSIRO, examined the distribution data of 48,661 marine species since 1955.

The alarming results, published in the journal PNAS, confirm that climate change is impacting species diversity across latitudes, with the number of species levelling off or declining at latitudes with average sea surface temperatures exceeding 20°C.

According to Professor David Schoeman, co-author of the study from USC, species attached to the seafloor like corals, oysters and seawe...

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Turtles, sharks and king penguins swim in mysterious circles

Green sea turtles are one of several marine animals that swim in mysterious circles

Several marine animals, including green sea turtles, tiger sharks and Antarctic fur seals, have been observed swimming in circles, but the reason for the behaviour is a mystery. Tomoko Narazaki at the University of Tokyo in Japan unexpectedly discovered this circling behaviour while studying the navigation of green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) off the coast of Mohéli, one of the islands of Comoros in the Indian Ocean, and the Japanese island of Chichijima in the Pacific Ocean.

She had been tracking the homing capabilities of green turtles when they were moved away from their breeding ground, and noticed that the tracking data showed multiple circling events when the turtles returned to the coastal waters off their nesting beaches...

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North Sea whale death raises by-catch safety fears

The recent death of a humpback whale off the Northumberland coast has raised interest in and concerns for the marine mammals in the North Sea. With the number of whale sightings in the area growing, what can be done to protect them? Humpy had been seen several times before being washed up on Blyth beach last month. It was alive at the end of January when it was spotted off the coast from the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, feeding on shoals of fish.

But several weeks later it was dead, its bloated carcass floating wrapped in the rope from a lobster pot.

It is not known if the whale died before or after becoming entwined, but the risk posed by fishing gear is something that needs discussing now, according to Dr Martin Kitching of the North East Cetacean Project (NECP).

He is quick ...

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Climate change: Net zero targets are ‘pie in the sky’

Sharp divisions between the major global emitters have emerged at a series of meetings designed to make progress on climate change. India lambasted the richer world’s carbon cutting plans, calling long term net zero targets, “pie in the sky.” Their energy minister said poor nations want to continue using fossil fuels and the rich countries “can’t stop it”. China meanwhile declined to attend a different climate event organised by the UK.

Trying to lead 197 countries forward on the critical global issue of climate change is not a job for the faint hearted, as the UK is currently finding out. 

As president of COP26, this year’s crucial climate meeting due to take place in Glasgow in November, Britain is charged with ensuring a successful summit of world leaders and their negotiators.

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5 Shocking Takeaways From ‘Seaspiracy’

Have you had a chance to watch the recent Netflix documentary Seaspiracy? Produced by Kip Anderson of Cowspiracy fame, Brit director Ali Tabrizi stars in the 89min feature about the plight of the world’s oceans. Spoiler alert: they’re basically fucked. Many of the themes explored in Seaspiracy are similar to those we discussed in June 2019, when the surf community’s – especially some of its favourite ocean advocacy groups – war on plastic was eerily all quiet on fishing front. 

It more or less still is.

In brief: Plastic is really bad, but at least half of ocean plastic comes from fishing, which also removes the fish being caught, sold and eaten from the sea, alongside some 30 million tonnes of others, in the process. 

Very few in the environmental advocacy space seem p...

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Ocean mammals face extinction

The ocean’s mammals are at a crucial crossroads – with some at risk of extinction and others showing signs of recovery, researchers led by scientists at the University of Exeter have warned. Scientists have found that accidental capture by fisheries (bycatch), climate change and pollution are among the key drivers of decline following a detailed review of the status of the world’s 126 marine mammal species – which include whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, manatees, dugongs, sea otters and polar bears.

A quarter of these species are now classified as being at risk of extinction – vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered on the IUCN Red List – with the near-extinct vaquita porpoise and the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale among those in greatest danger.

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Red Sea Rainforests

Looking down from the International Space Station (ISS), an astronaut captured this view of the northwest coastline of Saudi Arabia, where up to 260 coral reef species thrive. The salty, warm waters off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula create an optimal environment for coral reefs to grow, mainly in shallow lagoons where the shoreline meets the Red Sea. The water transitions from bright turquoise in the lagoons to deep blue as depth increases.

Fringing reefs, which start at the shore and grow toward the sea, line the northwestern Saudi Arabian coastline. Coral reef biodiversity increases to the south, where patch and barrier reefs combine with fringing reefs to form rich ecosystems. Coral reefs are known as “rainforests of the sea” for their biodiversity and their functionality in ...

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